THE UNTOLD HARDSHIP OF THE INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSONS IN BORNO STATE.
Have you ever try going a day completely without food? How does it
feel when your children don’t go to school? What will you do when you
are displaced from your homes and have nowhere to go?
The cause of internally displaced persons could be traced back to what
happened in Borno state in July 2009, when a militant Islamic group
and Nigerian security forces had a disagreement which led to violence
and the birth of boko haram issues that we are facing up to date. The
violence did not just end in Borno state but extended to other part of
the country like Adamawa and Yobe.
Today, almost all the 27 local government in Borno have been affected
by boko haram attacks where many have been displaced. Local government
such as Gwoza, Chibok, Konduga, Gamboru, Bama, Damboa and a host lot
of others were brutally affected by boko haram attacks.
The internally displaced persons have now scattered across the country
and its boundaries like Cameroun, Chad and Niger Republic. Some
doesn’t even know where their parents, relatives and friends are.
In Borno state, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are found in camps
such as the Bakassi camp, Arabic Teachers college camp, some in the
homes of their love ones while others are taken care of by the Non
Governmental Organisations (NGOs) through constructing tent for them
to live in.
Some NGOs officials said they help the IDPS by providing food, shelter
and ensure their health is at its best. They also train them in
different skills so that they can help themselves as well. Their aim
is to see that the IDPs have a better life as before.
But despite the effort of the government and the NGOs, the condition
of the IDPS is still so touching. Some even hardly eat food in a day,
for the issue of education, some don’t even talk about it because they
don’t have the money to send their children to school.
According to Yabalu Ali an internally displaced person, their major
problem is food, “our major problem is food, we hardly eat food in a
day, for our children’s education, we don’t even talk about that
because we don’t have the money to their fees”.
She added by saying that what sustains them is the petty hand work
they do. She then called on the government to provide them with food
because that is their major problem.
For Hafsat Mohammed, their case is not any different as food still
remains their basic need. She said their father use to buy small
quantity of food to them which does not sustain them.
Yes our government is doing its best, the National Emergency
Management Agency (NEMA) and State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA)
not forgetting the NGOS. But the plight of the IDPS in the camps and
street is still touching. Let’s make a collective effort by helping
the IDPS in all possible ways.
Let’s support our military and show them any suspicious persons and
objects in our environment. By so doing, we will help in getting rid
of insurgency, talk more of displacement not only in Borno, the
Northeast entirely but Nigeria.
Our past leaders, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Gen.
Murtala Mohammed, Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo, Gen. Yakubu Gowon and a host
lot of them have done a lot to sustain the unity and progress of our
country. Are we going to sit and watch our country, states and its
local government crumbled to dust? Certainly No.
Therefore I called on us fellow Nigerians to stand on our feet and say
no to insurgency. Let’s embrace peace and make Borno state a safe
haven where people can come into it and invest.
The present administration of president Muhammadu Buhari is doing its
best in bringing a lasting peace to Borno and Nigeria as a whole.
Let’s be so passionate about the IDPs and stretch a helping hand to
them. They deserve our love and care.
We enjoy the comfort of our beds while some IDPs don’t even have a
place to lay their head on. Some of them are sexually abused, they are
so ignorant that they can easily be seduced with food.
Fellow Nigerians, can we allow that to continue, please let’s be our
brothers keepers and help in the best way we can. We should know that
some of these IDPs we see today were not so yesterday, some use to be
millionaires but what is their plight today?
Come to think of it, it is true that what goes around will definitely
come around. Let’s help the IDPs, let’s show them that we love them.
Let’s not stigmatise them but bring them closer to us.
Our government should help the IDPs by providing more food to them,
hospitals, portable water and schools. You can’t expect a hungry man
to be so functional in the society without eating food. Food is what
they need first and other things follow.
When a man is hungry, he can do anything possible to get that food.
That is why when you see an IDP collecting money and an improvised
explosive, we can’t blame him, he is probably doing that because he is
hungry and also ignorant.
Nigerians, let’s save our IDPs, it is my duty and your duty to help
them. The NGOs and the affluent in the society are not left behind,
let’s do more and eradicate insurgency in Nigeria completely by
keeping alert and reporting any suspicious persons or objects to our
Nigeria is ours and we need peace in Borno, the Northeast and Nigeria
as a whole. It is our desire that internally displaced persons will
very soon return to their various home towns and states to move on
with life in peace and harmony. Don’t sit on the, but be part of the
fight and campaign against insurgency and help the IDPs in your own
Yabawa Lazarus and Winifred Ijafiya are students of mass
communication, University of Maiduguri, 300 level.